Michael Palmer

Design and Construct

Domestic and Commercial

Elwood Canal - 2007




Work History


Pergolas and Decks 


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The brief was to design and contruct a home in a small block at the rear of an existing home (urban infill) of 190 SqM, which the owners could live in right through there old age. It was to be 6 star rated and to address the Elwood Canal (creek reserve) as it's 'front'. The space while small hosts an 80 year old Mulberry Tree which influenced the design of both the building and the garden. The tree was assessed by the arborist as viable and is inspected regularly to maintain it;s health. Building work had to be kept off it's root structure and as early as possible the deck was put in place to assure the trees ongoing health.
The home provides wheelchair access to both levels via a lift the shaft which was built into the structure. The actual lift will be installed when required. The solar hot water system pre-heats to gas fired instantaneous boiler. Hydronic central heating with gas fired instantaneous boiler, supplemented by passive solar. Passive cooling via thermal mass & crossflow ventilation. The steel roof is connected to an underground tank of 7,000 litres, supplying 100 litres/day. That water is for flushing toilets & the garden. The foundation design & permeable paving allow all other rainwater to be delivered to the subsoil.
The base is a polished concrete slab. This is insulated & constitutes the primary thermal mass. 3 Hydronic circuits are cast into the slab to form the basis of the central heating system. Thermal Mass: The use of high density materials in the living spaces absorbs the winter sun during the day and releases the warmth back into the room at night e.g. insulated terrazzo slab polished floor, western double brick boundary wall.
The upper floor is 19 mm parquetry over structural ply on hardwood joists.

Unique permeable concrete paving allows all rainwater to be delivered to the subsoil.

Aluminium thermal break, doubled glazed windows throughout – maximised on the north and east and minimised on south. None to the west, a boundary.
On both levels all internal walls  are 110 mm, timber frame with thermal/acoustic insulation. At ground level the external walls are insulated double brick, 300 thick. While upstairs they are steel clad, insulated timber frame, 150 thick. Recycled Materials used: Bricks, Timber (stairwell & stairs.)



Green Living Acreditation   Link to Master Builders Association of Victoria